Permit Issue Resolved in the City of Hartford

On May 1st, CCDL President Scott Wilson communicated with Hartford Police Chief James Rovella regarding his department’s refusal to accept numerous pistol permit applications.

These particular applications were refused by the police department because they did not include an additional signed waiver that would have allowed for intrusive privacy violations. The Connecticut State Statues (29-28a) do not allow the Hartford PD to require such additional waivers in addition to the state approved application.

The CCDL President offered to schedule a meeting between CCDL and Hartford city officials to discuss this matter.

On May 5th a reply came back to CCDL from Hartford Deputy Police Chief Dustin Rendock indicating that they had conducted a review of their pistol permit procedures, and that they were eliminating the waiver altogether. The Deputy Chief also asked CCDL to contact the rejected pistol permit applicants in Hartford to see if we can get them to resubmit their applications.

The next step that CCDL will take is to contact the Board of Firearms Permit Examiners to communicate the resolution to any applicants in Hartford they know of who might have been affected by the waiver requirement.

CCDL wishes to thank the Hartford Police Department for taking positive and expedient action to rectify this matter. We are thankful that by bringing this issue to their attention it has been resolved.

CCDL also wishes to thank our members for standing behind us, and also for their patience while we work to resolve other issues in several other municipalities across the state.

Carry On!

Help A Brother Out

I know money is tight, especially here in Connecticut. I know it also seems like everyone has their hand out; the government, political campaigns, and yes, CCDL. Well, here goes the hand again.

Scott Lazurek is a CCDL member who was arrested and his permit to carry a firearm revoked for exercising his rights. He was in the right, all charges were dismissed and the Board of Firearm Permit Examiners (BFPE) reinstated his permit after over a year delay because of case backlogs.

A few weeks ago the State Attorney General’s Office made the unprecedented decision to take both Mr. Lazurek and the BFPE to court in an attempt to overturn the Board’s decision and again revoke Mr. Lazurek permit. A copy of the summons can be downloaded here: Lazurek-Appeal (pdf)
It’s important to note here that Mr. Lazurek works in a profession that requires him to carry a firearm. The State’s actions are not just impacting his right to bear arms; it’s taking away his income.

CCDL is not involved in this case, but it’s importance to the rights of all gun owners in Connecticut should be obvious. Scott Lazurek needs all the help possible fighting to keep his right to carry a firearm, and by extension his profession. To that end a donation page has been set up to help defray his legal expenses. Please go to http://www.gofundme.com/f7dhi4 and donate whatever you can. After you donate, be sure to share this page with anyone and everyone you know who supports the state and federal constitution. Thank you.

Board of Firearms Permit Examiners gets hit with media agenda driven “journalism”.

This is a guest post by Jonathan Hardy, who handles pistol permit and legislative issues for CCDL. He also has his own website: ctpistolpermitissues.com
 

There was a recent incident in Newington involving a mother at a local “Chuck-E-Cheese” restaurant.  Tawana Bourne presented her firearm in an altercation at the restaurant.  Ms. Bourne broke two laws that day:  Briefly (according to Newington PD) brandishing a firearm as well as carrying the firearm in a posted “no guns allowed” facility.  Both of which, would most likely be illegal.  I’m not going to delve deeper in the permit revocation aspect in this case.  She had a permit and it was revoked.  I doubt she’ll get her permit back any time soon (though she can navigate the courts and application process again).

I have a serious problem when the local media pick up the story that she was denied her permit and it was overturned by the Board of Firearms Permit Examiners even though she had (according to the article) been arrested several times, committed to a hospital and a family member had a restraining order against her.

On it’s face, the information presented above is true.  However, there are many “factual discrepancies” between the facts and sensationalism.  Let’s break the facts down, according to the article (and Middletown PD), the reasons for the denial were:

  • Arrests in 2001, 2003 and 2004
  • “as well as” two convictions
  • “along with some other arrests within our town, two times we had to commit her to the hospital for a mental evaluation”
  • Restraining order

Now, when you read the article, it makes it sound like the board was presented information that she was a career criminal/mental case and shouldn’t get her permit.  The article quotes Ms. Bourne stating that she has been clean for seven years.

The article misses A LOT of the facts and how the above arrests, committals and restraining orders were related.  I actually delved a little deeper in the case because I attend just about every firearms board hearing as an observer.  They are NOT a permit mill.  If the board had unanimously overturned a denial, then there had to be a reason beyond the article mentioned above.  Sure enough, there was.

The “crime spree” mentioned above didn’t take place over an extended period of time.  The majority of the arrests and committal/restraining order issues delve around incidents occurring in ONE WEEK. in 2001.  I will present you with the information (good and bad) that I researched by listening to the hearing.

  • The reason for the actual denial was failure to properly list arrests/convictions on the application.  In these incidents displaying knives (steak knives), being committed to a hospital and having a restraining order against her.
  • Middletown brings up a few arrests, but no convictions.  One board member questions whether mentioning arrests without conviction is valid or not under CT statute 42-154a.
  • Convictions related to these cases were failure to appear (class a misdemeanor), possession of a restricted substance (most likely prescription medicine) which was a class C misdemeanor and a fine was paid.
  • Board agrees that all the charges/convictions above were not disqualifiers under state law (but the behavior can be “weighted upon” to judge suitability.

These all revolve around incidents on June 23rd and June 29th of 2001.  The appellant at that time was approximately 19 or 20 years old (I didn’t get the specific age from the audio).  The article does not mention that the majority of this criminal activity stems from these two dates in the same week..  The restraining order, I don’t give much weight to as it was an ex parte restraining order.  A complaint was made, a judge issued the order without a hearing (which is common).  When it came time to continue the temporary restraining order, the complaintant never showed up in court to continue the order.  The appellant admits she had a drug habit, inquired whether her family would be glad without her and that she should “jump off the bridge”.  She then was committed to the hospital on these occasions.

The majority of what follows is what was missing from the article and how Ms. Bourne had changed her life around.

  • She has been clean 7 years since these incidents.
  • Chairman Corradino states that based on evidence submitted, she looks to have changed her life around with letters of recommendation, newspaper articles about her work and an impressive resume.
  • After hospitalization, she sought treatment and got involved in church activities.
  • Had two children and didn’t want to raise them as an addicted mother.
  • Started attending college.  She had received her Associates, was currently 1 year away from her Bachelors degree and planned to pursue her Masters in social work.
  • She works full time as a home health worker and a social worker (while attending college and raising children of her own).
  • She started her own organization in Middletown to help adults and parents overcome situations like those she overcame.
  • She was involved in a school program helping parents and children improve literacy.
  • She received a prestigious grant for her social work from the William Caspar Graustein Fund.

When you look at the incidents of the younger Ms. Bourne with the person that was at her permit denial hearing, you indeed see two very different women.  Look at the HUGE list of accomplishments (somehow, absent from the media reports).  The board saw SEVEN years of clean conduct and nothing but positive change.

The BFPE deliberated and six members voted unanimously to grant her a permit.

One should really wonder, how did the media get the information regarding the permit denial?  Politics.  There are several bills being discussed to dissolve the Board of Firearms Permit Examiners. If this were to happen, citizens would have no recourse but a very costly process in the court system.  It would overburden the court system with close to 500 or more cases a year.  Most judges have no experience with firearms, all members of the board are very experienced with firearms.  Board members are volunteers and the only paid staff is one part time administrative person and expenses (copies, mailing, etc.).  Those expenses cost the state around $80,000. a year (a quick look at the math shows the state collects over $2,520,000 per year in pistol permit fees).  The BFPE board appointments come from government agencies (including a Department of Environmental Protection Colonel), governor appointees and two are from gun clubs.  The board is made up of seven members (six voted in this case).   The board composition is well balanced.

Some municipalities and the State Special Licensing and Firearms Unit have issues with the BFPE.  When they do not follow state statutes, the BFPE can overturn wrongful denials and revocations.  Just look at the towns I have collected information from on this site.  A large number of towns simply do not follow the law when issuing permits and the BFPE is the only recourse a citizen may have to correct this abuse.  Some towns violations are so egregious, a person could lose their place of residence or employment if they sign such harmful “hold harmless” agreements (not required by law).

As someone that attends these hearings, I have seen people denied permits for extremely trivial arrests.  One for a pack of batteries stolen in the mid eighties with NO interaction since that time with law enforcement.  One for a drunk driving incident IN THE SIXTIES with no further interaction with law enforcement.  It’s not uncommon to see a town abuse it’s authority over an anti-gun bias.  In these cases, the BFPE excels at making sure these abuses are corrected.  The board is also very firm and I’ve seen plenty of denials.  Many from what I have observed to be trivial given the weight of the case.  But, they have been fair and partial.

I’m still left to wonder.  Who tipped off the media?  Middletown PD for being angry over their “authority” being overturned?  The state Special Licensing and Firearms Unit over their decisions being continually overturned?  I think there is indeed an agenda here given the political climate, especially post Sandy Hook.  Call me a skeptic.

 

This article is also cross-posted at ctpistolpermitissues.com